Parenting Plan for 2017
On my last blog, I wrote about New Year’s resolutions and included a list of ways for making life more fun a must. There are many benefits to living a joyful life, and as an adult we forget to do those things, often, because… Well, life. As a parent, it is equally as easy to forget about those things because… Well, life with a child. One solution to this problem and something I often recommend to clients that come in with very stressful daily routines, is taking me-time.
Me-time as a parent, though, looks a little different because depending on the child’s age you might not have an hour to spare to spend by yourself. What you can do is spend 15 minutes of undivided attention on things, people, and relationships that are important to you. By doing this, you are helping yourself maintain those very important relationships in your life, stay grounded and centered, and feel more at peace.
Here are a few 15-minute blocks of time that parents can add to their routines starting in 2017:
- 15 minutes to listen at bedtime
Research has shown that it is beneficial for children to be given the opportunity to process through their day. As a parent, we might be so occupied with making lunch, washing dishes, making sure homework is done, giving baths, folding clothes, making dinner, and stopping WWIII that it’s easy to forget to give that very important one-on-one attention. Yet, making this a daily routine will help create a deeper relationship between you and your child. Children will learn better to interact with others, and parents will feel even more fulfilled.
- 15 minutes to play outside before dinner
This is another tough one to remember because… Well, life with a child. Yet, spending these 15 minutes before dinner or homework routine, helps increase bonding, boosting moods, and relieving stress. Research has shown that being outside in green space reduces depression, anxiety, stress, and improves self-esteem and mood.
- 15 minutes of complete presence with a partner
A relationship is hard work no matter what, but being a parent adds an additional thing to remember. Giving your partner 15 minutes of undivided attention, whether it’s for talking, listening, or snuggling, can not only boost your relationship, but it will also help you in coping better with stressful situations.
- 15 minutes toward friendships
Through speaking to clients about support systems I have learned that every one is different. Some people consider their friend circle to be a group of about 20 people, while others have about 5, yet others consider only their close friends to be about 1 or 2. Regardless of your number, satisfaction with the quality of your friendships has been shown to be one of the strongest predictors of life satisfaction. Take these 15 minutes to return a phone call or text.
- 15 minutes of decluttering
I hear it all the time, cleaning is a stress reliever and people don’t understand why. Research has shown that household clutter can contribute to stress and depression. For these 15 minutes, take the time to clean little by little to help alleviate your load.
- 15 minutes of snuggling
The benefits of kangaroo care are talked about so much when you have a newborn, yet the benefits of touch for young children are not as equally discussed. The benefits are clear, touch releases oxytocin, which helps regulate hormones, decrease parental stress, and improve children’s cognitive and emotional development.
- 15 minutes of interactive play
Play is the way children learn about the world. It is highly important for children to be allowed this time, and playing with parents can be especially beneficial because it boosts the parent-child relationship and teaches them about social interactions.
- 15 minutes for complete rest and “no agenda” time
Doing nothing means being completely at rest to recharge. This is something that you can do to give yourself, your brain, your child, and your child’s brain, the signal that everything is okay despite anything that happened throughout the day.
If you are having difficulty with the stress that comes with being a parent and would like help with adding 15 minutes of me-time to your daily routine, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orlando mental health counselors.